Kirin K Wachter-Grene
Covers techniques and practice in reading and enjoying literature in its various forms: poetry, drama, prose fiction, and film. Examines such features of literary meanings as imagery, characterization, narration, and patterning in sound and sense. Offered: AWSp.
In this course we will read and critically engage with experimental African American literature as it is produced in multiple forms such as fiction, poetry, and film, and in multiple genres such as science fiction, satire, fantasy, and "street lit." We will consider how/why the texts in question are "experimental" in both form and content. We will not only refine what it means to close read and analyze at a college level, we will question the intentions and stakes underlying the practice of literary analysis as a discipline. To this end, we will identify and develop strategies of reading, writing, thinking about, and discussing different kinds of texts—many of which are provocative and potentially challenging—in order to question the ways such texts both reveal and complicate representations of the anxieties, pleasures, and politics of material existence. As we will be explicitly engaging with difficult and at times problematic issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ideology, it is crucial to bring an open-minded, curious, and respectful attitude to this class in order to foster engaging and productive discussion. Readings may include in whole or in part: Pauline Hopkins, Charles W. Chesnutt, Ishmael Reed, Jean Toomer, Eric Walrond, George Schuyler, Booker T. Washington, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, Chester Himes, Iceberg Slim, Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, Amiri Baraka, Nathaniel Mackey, Harriet Mullen, Thomas Glave, Sister Souljah, Jay-Z, Sapphire, Percival Everett, and Baratunde Thurston. We will also watch Marlon Riggs' documentary film Tongues Untied.
**PLEASE NOTE: ALL REQUIRED TEXTS ARE AVAILABLE AT THE UW BOOKSTORE. PLEASE PURCHASE THE REQUIRED EDITION OF EACH TEXT. THE COURSE PACK IS AVAILABLE AT AVE COPY**
Student learning goals
Students are able to perform competent close readings of course texts and similar texts.
Students are able to contextualize and analyze the materials or topics covered, historically, politically, culturally.
Students develop more sophisticated discussion and presentation skills in the interest of being better able to construct and defend their own arguments or interpretations.
Students develop as critical thinkers and writers who can formulate substantive arguments and explore those arguments with evidence.
Students develop both an appreciation of literature and a lifelong habit of reading.
General method of instruction
While it is not a prerequisite for students to have already completed a "C" course, such as 131, 111, 109/110, or 121, those students who have done so, or who have the equivalent of college-level composition instruction, will probably feel more prepared to handle the writing requirements of this course.
Class assignments and grading
This class counts for "W" credit, and will require students to write two 5-7 page revisable papers. Students can also expect to write several informal reading responses and to participate in a group presentation. **Please note that students are expected to keep up with the weekly reading and are expected to come to class prepared to discuss and engage with the texts**